Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inkyard Press: Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros

Chronicle Prism: Men in Blazers Present Gods of Soccer: The Pantheon of the 100 Greatest Soccer Players (According to Us) by Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, and Miranda Davis; illustrated by Nate Kitch

Neal Porter Books: I Don't Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal

Tor Nightfire: The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Candlewick Press (MA): Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens, illustrated by Monica Mikai

Popular Book Company (Usa): Complete Curriculum Success Series, Math Success Series, English Success Series, 365 Fun Days

Yen on: Fox Tales by Tomihiko Morimi, translated by Winifred Bird


Notes: Bookstore Changes; Beyond Words Hirings

Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., is opening a second location, in downtown, by Thanksgiving. The store is being underwritten by local developer Craig Heller of Loftworks; under the three-year agreement, Left Bank owners may buy the business at any point. The new Left Bank store will be at 321 N. 10th Street at Locust.


Sadly Teri and Andy TeBockhorst have decided to close East Village Books, Des Moines, Iowa. In an e-mail and on their website, they wrote that "in a complicated turn of events we unexpectedly lost our financial support, and our efforts to secure alternative financing within a short time period were unsuccessful. We realize this announcement is sudden, but we have exhausted every effort over the last few days."

The pair requested customers "support independent, locally owned businesses whenever and wherever you can. Buying local feeds the economic infrastructure and while it may be too late for us, there's still time for others. We ask you to give them your support!" They also recommended customers read Deep Economy by Bill McKibben because he "does an excellent job of explaining very succinctly why it is vital to support your local community. We're quite sure one of our good friends at the Book Store or Beaverdale Books will be happy to help you obtain a copy."


Congratulations to Word Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., which has been voted best bookstore by New York Press. Word "makes a point of stocking local authors as well as the best-sellers, and has a staff of helpful, well-read types always ready to make a suggestion or place a special order (which is way better than Amazon)," the paper wrote. "Another plus is great events--this week The Ice Storm author Rick Moody is reading there and playing with his band (but isn't he always?)--that often include free booze, prizes and offbeat activities. . . . Word has the combo of mom-and-pop charm and modern convenience that will make it a neighborhood institution for years to come."


To help celebrate its 30th anniversary, Annie Bloom's Books in the Multnomah Village area of Portland, Ore., is creating a memories book and encouraging customers and others to e-mail "a favorite Annie Bloom's moment you'd like to share." The anniversary party takes place Saturday October 25, beginning at 3 p.m. The store has also been celebrating by discounting a favorite book by 30% each month this year. September's discounted title is Home by Marilynne Robinson.


Calling the Old Book Shop, Morristown, N.J., "a time capsule," the Daily Record noted that owners Chris Wolff and Virginia Faulkner "trace the beginning of their shop to 1915. They purchased it in 1974 . . . The shop is more than shelves of books and collections of postcards, maps and journals. It is a place where the value of people's stories is expressed in a variety of ways."

"People hang on to books more than nearly any other thing," Wolff said. "This is time travel. This is a time capsule. Every book is a time capsule."


The Oakland Tribune offered a tribute to Walden Pond Books, Oakland, Calif., where "the boards beneath your feet sound of history, survival and all good things new and used." Founded in 1973 by Marshall Curatolo, who is now 80, the store has moved several times.

Although competition has increased, "we still have knowledgeable people who read, who know books and literature," Curatolo said. "Used books have helped us, given us a leg up on chains."

The store is also a social place, said store manager Paul Curatolo, the founder's son. Bookseller Bob Fisher added, "I've seen a lot of couples meet in the science fiction and western sections."


Effective January 1, Thomas Allen Publishers will become the exclusive Canadian distributor for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade and reference division. Harcourt was previously distributed in Canada by Raincoast. Houghton Mifflin has had "a long and wonderful relationship with Thomas Allen," division president Gary Gentel said. "We're pleased to build on this success by having them take on the combined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt."


Danielle Marshall has joined Beyond Words as marketing manager. She formerly worked in the marketing department at Powell's Books and and earlier was a front-line book buyer at Powell's.

Brian Danziger has joined Beyond Words as sales manager. He was formerly customer service manager at Netflix and worked in the trade sales division of Sounds True. He has more than 20 years of product sales experience. Among other things, he plans to expand the sales reach of Beyond Words's new film division, Beyond Distribution.

Simon & Schuster is handling marketing, sales and distribution of Beyond Words to the trade book market. Marshall and Danziger are in charge of the mind, body and spirit and gift markets. Beyond Words, located in Hillsboro, Ore., has a co-publishing agreement with Simon & Schuster's Atria imprint. 


Tiny Reparations Books: Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams

Image of the Day: 1984 in 2008

Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore., is highlighting Banned Books Week with this simple window display featuring 1984 by George Orwell. The store also devoted an issue of its e-mail newsletter to the subject, which, Third's Street's Sylla McClellan noted, evoked the following response from a customer: "I will write your name in for Vice President of the United States."


GLOW: Disney-Hyperion: Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

Banned Books Week in the News

"'Dangerous' books are a big reason to keep reading," noted the Winston-Salem, N.C., Journal

In the Asbury Park, N.J., Press, librarian Marian R. Bauman wrote, "Books are not evil and do not harm anyone."

A Fort Myers, Fla., News-Press editorial advised, "Read, do not ban, books."

"SoCal rediscovers banned books" was the headline in the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, followed Monday by "Banned Books Week--does it matter?" and David Ulin's "Banned Books Week a thorny issue."

BiblioBuffet, the online literary salon, features several pieces about Banned Books Week, including one by SIBA's Nicki Leone, also managing editor and contributor of A Reading Life; a letter from Lauren Roberts, editor-in-chief; a column by author Lev Raphael; and a contribution from literary critic Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.

Inevitably, the Sarah Palin controversy has been invoked in many articles, including this from the Christian Science Monitor: "Given the recent public scuffle over Sarah Palin’s conversations while mayor with a Wasilla librarian about the possibility of banning books, there probably couldn't be a better moment for the American Library Association's Banned Books Week."

"Oh, those evil books," cautioned the Albany, N.Y., Times Union.
"Banning books is not a way to run a country," according to the Contra Costa Times. "Transparency and censorship issues are nonpartisan."

The American Thinker offered an opposing viewpoint: "Apparently 99% of Books Have Been 'Banned'!"


Harper: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

PNBA Fall 2008: Talking About Books (Part One)

For this fall's annual meeting, in Portland, Ore., the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association wanted to bring as many people from the industry together as possible--booksellers, reps, agents, librarians, authors. The show started on Monday, September 15, with workshops and a well-attended evening autographing party, the Nightcapper, that featured more than 20 authors. The exhibits opened on Tuesday, and workshops for librarians took place concurrently, followed by a sold-out evening Author Feast. Wednesday the exhibits were open until mid-day, and a Celebration of Authors on the show floor highlighted 10 "authors to watch." Librarians in particular were excited about the show, and PNBA executive director Thom Chambliss expects greater participation from them next year.

We wanted to find out what books the reps were excited about from the upcoming winter season. (We hope we know what's supposed to be good for the fall by now). Some reps don't have a winter season or are just so passionate about a fall title that we couldn't rain on their parade, so here are some gems from both seasons' lists.

Christine Foye of Wilcher Associates unhesitatingly grabbed a galley of Freeman Walker by David Allan Cates (Unbridled Books, October). It's the story of a young boy born before the Civil War to a white father and black mother. His father loves him and frees him when he's seven years old, sending him to London for an education. At 18, he returns to the U.S. to free his mother, fights in the war, then moves to the West. He has money and land, but he's still a black man in America. Foye says it's an amazing novel about what it is to have everything but belong nowhere.

One of the best titles for a book is a Simon & Schuster March release, I'm Perfect, You're Doomed, a memoir by Kyria Abrahams, a former Jehovah's Witness. Amy Schoppert says it's hysterical, while being serious about how the author finally leaves the Jehovah's Witnesses. She is also high on Little Bee, a novel by Chris Cleave (S&S, February). She's read a lot of fiction and nonfiction about Africa and says Cleave has a different voice, distinctive; in brief, the book "kicks ass." Her pick for a fall "Dad" book is The Bitter Road to Freedom by William I. Hitchcock, an October title from Free Press about the liberation of Europe. An overview of history and ideas told through human stories, it's eminently readable. Michael Croy from S&S likes Stories Done by Mikal Gilmore, a November title also from Free Press. Vignettes from the '60s blend into a great social history, with nuanced writing and conversational tone.

Tony Perez from Tin House says a February title, Asta in the Wings by Jan Elizabeth Watson, is beautifully written and engaging. Cindy Heidemann from PGW agrees, saying that Watson is "an exciting new voice." This first novel is told by seven-year-old Asta, who with her brother has lived an almost feral childhood controlled by their delusional mother, who tells them that the world outside has been plague-ravaged. All they know they've learned from old movies and television. When they are abandoned by their mother, they have to strike out into the real world. Heidemann also recommends Stephanie Kallos' Sing Them Home, a January release from Atlantic Monthly Press. It's the story of family dealing and not dealing with life after losing their mother in a tornado. "Multi-voiced, beautifully written, it is filled with characters who will live long in my mind." And one more: Whitefoot by Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, January). Beautifully illustrated by Davis Te Selle, it's a tale of a very, very small mouse and her adventures in the world, a fable of survival and the wonders of nature, suitable for all ages. "Wendell Berry is my guide on how to live in our world and do no harm, and here he shows us a small micro-slice of that world."

An evocative title comes from Ballantine in January: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. In his first novel, he writes about a slice of Seattle history, where a young Chinese-American boy comes of age during the time when Japanese-American families were sent to internment camps. It's a story of love, betrayal and healing. Handily the author was hanging out at the Random booth. When asked about what he likes best about his novel, he modestly replied that he's keeping an open mind, but several people we know who have read the book rave about it.

Dan Christaens from Norton unhesitatingly chose In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, linked stories of landowners and their retainers set in Pakistan (February). The writing reminds him of Jhumpa Lahiri, "exquisitely crafted, deeply informed, incredibly moving." Norton's winter list leans heavily toward science, featuring Born to Be Good by Dacher Keltner (January), about the evolutionary science behind compassion, proving that we are predisposed to be altruistic. He says it's "a compelling book for our time." And The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson (January). Tyson chronicles our irrational embrace of Pluto as a planet; he's one of the Pluto-as-planet debunkers. Christaens says it's breezy, fun and fascinating, and that Tyson ("the go-to guy on outer space") will be all over the media in January.

HarperCollins' Diane Jackson, when she managed to stop extolling Serena by Ron Rash (Ecco, October)--a common and understandable condition among Harper reps--said she loved The Believers by Zoe Heller (Harper, March). When a family is unsettled by the father's stroke, his wife reexamines their marriage. She's crafty, funny and temperamental, one reason why Jackson likes the book. She also chose Addition by Toni Jordan (Morrow, February), fiction about a woman with a compulsive disorder who counts and measures. She falls in love and tries to stay true to herself while negotiating between love and eccentricity. Seira Wilson from HarperCollins says that The Other Side of Desire by Daniel Bergner (Ecco, January) is "unputdownable." She compares it with Stiffs, in that initial resistance to the subject matter (sexual deviants) is strong; however, reading about what it's like to have a totally unacceptable urge and to live with it is compelling. "It's something you want to know about but don't want to ask." Another of Wilson's favorites is Amberville by Tim Davys (Harper, February).  Comparing it with Matt Ruff's Bad Monkeys, Jackson says it's an original yet old-fashioned noir novel, whose characters are stuffed animals. I'm in.--Marilyn Dahl

[Editors' note: more reps' picks in part two!]



BINC: Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Legs Are the Last to Go

This morning on the Today Show and tomorrow on Fox & Friends: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, author of Tea for Ruby (S&S/Paula Wiseman, $16.99, 9781416954194/1416954198).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show:

  • Nick Arrojo, author of Great Hair: Secrets to Looking Fabulous and Feeling Beautiful Every Day (St. Martin's Griffin, $21.95, 9780312377434/0312377436).
  • Drew Pinsky, author of The Mirror Effect (Harper, $27.95, 9780061582332/0061582336)
  • Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D., author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers (American Academy of Pediatrics, $12.95, 9781581102956/158110295X).


Tomorrow on the Leonard Lopate Show: Dr. Ken Rutherford, author of Humanitarianism Under Fire: The U.S. and U.N. Intervention in Somalia (Kumerian Press/Stylus, $24.95, 9781565492608/1565492609).


Tomorrow on the View: Diahann Carroll, author of The Legs Are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way (Amistad, $24.95, 9780060763268/0060763264).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Norman Fischer, author of Sailing Home: Using Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls (Free Press, $25, 9781416560210/1416560211).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Alice Wexler, author of The Woman Who Walked into the Sea: Huntington's and the Making of a Genetic Disease (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300105025/0300105029).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chelsea Handler, author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (Simon Spotlight, $24.95, 9781416954125/1416954120).


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next week:

The Pirate King: Transitions, Book II by R.A. Salvatore (Wizards of the Coast, $27.95, 9780786949649/0786949643) continues the Forgotten Realms fantasy series.

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre (Scribner, $28, 9781416594888/1416594884) follows Turkish Muslims living in Germany who unwittingly harbor a wanted terrorist.

The Quilter's Kitchen: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel with Recipes by Jennifer Chiaverini (S&S, $19.95, 9781416583295/1416583297) chronicles a chef's efforts to update a quilting resort's old kitchen.

Grace: A Novel by Richard Paul Evans (S&S, $19.95, 9781416550037/1416550038) tells the story of a first love and loss of innocence.

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead, $25.95, 9781594489990/1594489998) examines the differences between two groups of early Puritan settlers.

Final Judgment: A Novel by Eliot Asinof (Bunim & Bannigan, $20, 9781933480244/1933480246) has a climactic scene that takes place at a book & author breakfast at the 2006 BEA in Washington, D.C.--and involves the death by protest of a young woman when President Bush speaks at her college commencement.

Now in paperback:

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose (Mira, $6.99, 9780778325765/0778325768).


Book Review

Book Review: When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up by Juliana Hatfield (John Wiley & Sons, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780470189597, September 2008)

There is much to recommend in Juliana Hatfield's account of her life as a working musician, perhaps most notably that it is unexpected--a rock 'n' roll memoir that doesn't read like a rock 'n' roll memoir and as a result feels all the more authentic. The requisite rock dramas are all here, but Hatfield strips them of ego and swagger, providing instead a layered, thoughtful portrait of an artist working hard at her craft.

Hatfield has certainly paid her dues in the music business. Her first band, the Blake Babies, formed in 1986 when she was a 19-year-old student at the Berklee College of Music, attracted a dedicated indie rock following before breaking up in 1991. An accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, Hatfield went on to a prolific solo career that hit a high point in the mid-'90s, when she signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Two hit singles followed ("My Sister" and "Spin the Bottle"), along with magazine covers, solid album sales and extensive touring. It was during one of these tours, however, that Hatfield began fantasizing about jumping out of windows and realized that she needed treatment for severe depression. Although she took little time off for therapy, Hatfield had to cancel a scheduled European tour. When she re-entered the musical fray, the landscape had changed. Radio had become conglomerated and homogenized and she no longer had support at Atlantic, which shelved her album after executives decided it didn't contain a single and then released her from her contract. Hatfield was down but nowhere near out; she continued to write, record and tour for the next 10 years.

When I Grow Up alternates chapters that add flesh and nuance to these events with a road diary from a 2003 tour Hatfield took with her then-band, Some Girls. She speaks honestly and plainly about her regrets (image marketing missteps, love affairs with drug-addicted rockers), her frustrations (the difficulty of being an independent artist in a corporate world) and her fears (what will happen when she can no longer tolerate the rounds of grungy rock clubs and dicey motels), but throughout all of it, she never loses her passion for making music. That creative force, which shines through these pages, has propelled Hatfield forward, illuminating some very dark places and given her a wry, insightful take on art and the artist's role. "We are all essentially pimping our own versions of Weltschmerz," she says of the tortured musician stereotype. It's a great line, at once earnest, sardonic and smart, and it well represents this very fine memoir.--Debra Ginsberg
Shelf Talker: A thoughtful and intelligent memoir of a rock 'n' roll life with the requisite rock dramas, but stripped of ego and swagger. Juliana Hatfield provides a layered, thoughtful portrait of an artist working hard at her craft.


Impossible Error: Nancy Werlin

Our bookseller picks of the lists from the Midwest Booksellers Association that ran yesterday had one error. Impossible, published by Penguin, is by Nancy Werlin, best known for her YA thrillers. Thanks to Molly Krichten, associate director of the Guthrie Memorial Library, Hanover, Pa., who caught the error and added, "What a great book. As many people as possible need to read this book!"


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